- Subtext is defined as the feelings or motives which are the understood meaning of a written work, or the primary personality of a character in a written work or performance.
An example of subtext is understanding that a character is very angry when asked if they're okay and they say "I'm fine" with an annoyed tone to their voice.
subtext definition by Webster's New World
- the complex of feelings, motives, etc. conceived of by an actor as underlying the actual words and actions of the character being portrayed
- an underlying meaning, theme, etc.
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- subtextual adjective
subtext definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- The implicit meaning or theme of a literary text.
- The underlying personality of a dramatic character as implied or indicated by a script or text and interpreted by an actor in performance.
- sub·tex·tu·al adjective